2009 Sickle Cell Scholarship Competition

The American Red Cross Blood Services, Penn-Jersey Region is pleased to announce an essay competition and scholarship award focused on increasing awareness of the need for blood donors to support the blood transfusions needs of patients living with Sickle Cell Disease.

The competition was developed in celebration of the blood donor recruitment activities of high school students. Through their association with the Penn-Jersey  Region those  recruitment efforts have resulted in more blood donations for the Red Cross Sickle Cell Disease Program, from students of the African American and Black communities.


Sickle Cell Disease affects the lives of more than 70,000 people across the nation, most of African decent. In fact one in every 12 African Americans carries the trait for Sickle Cell Disease.

The Sickle Cell Program at the American Red Cross is designed to provide better blood transfusion support for children with Sickle Cell Disease. The best match for patients with Sickle Cell Disease usually comes from a donor from the Black community.  Since patients with Sickle Cell Disease often need many blood transfusions, it is best for them to receive blood that very closely matches their own.  Donors with the same ethnic background usually make the best match.

Essay Question

"How have you, as a student raised awareness of Sickle Cell Disease, and demonstrated a commitment to and inspired others to donate blood to support patients with Sickle Cell  Disease?"

Please include an effective personal statement tied to your experiences with the American Red Cross Blood Services and your high school blood program that emphasizes your  accomplishments and creativity in blood donor recruitment. Identify any challenges that you faced and how you overcame them and provide details of your tangible recruitment results.


Applicants to the Sickle Cell Essay Competition must:

Be a graduating high school senior in good academic standing with a school that sponsors a blood drive with the American Red Cross, Penn-Jersey Region (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery or Philadelphia Counties or the State of New Jersey).
Student applicants must have participated in an American Red  Cross Blood Services activity during their senior year of high school

High school students of American Red Cross employees or students who serve on the Penn-Jersey Region Board of Directors are not eligible to participate in the essay competition.

Letters of Recommendations

  1. Two letters of recommendation must be submitted. Endorsements may be submitted from a Guidance Counselor, Department Head, Faculty Advisor, Teacher, Principal, Vice Principal or Key Club/Student Council Advisor.
  2. Letters must be submitted on official school letterhead, sealed and stamped by the school.
  3. Letters must include:  applicant’s full name, verification of residency, school enrollment, and confirmation of active involvement in Blood Services.

The following questions must be answered by the endorsers:

  1. How long have you known the applicant? In what capacity?
  2. What are the applicant’s strengths and abilities? Cite examples.
  3. Describe applicant’s academic potential. What is the applicants distinguishing characteristics?
  4. How does the applicant stand apart from others students?
  5. How was the applicant involved in Blood Services?

General letters of endorsement that do not respond to the specific questions will not be considered.

Instructions for Essay/Application Submission - by Monday, March 15, 2010

  1. The essay must be no more than 500 words.
  2. The application and essay must be submitted online by Monday, March 15, 2010.  Applicants will receive an email confirmation when the application is submitted.
  3. All entries must be submitted in Adobe Acrobat format (PDF) via the web application form. No paper applications/essays will be accepted.
  4. Late submissions or incomplete application packages will not be considered.

Supporting Documents ~ by Monday, March 15, 2010

In one envelope, please include one copy of each of the following materials:

  1. Two letters of recommendation in sealed and signed envelopes
  2. Copy of official student transcript
  3. One page resume  (optional)

Send reference letters and transcript to: 

Rosemary Leyland
Chair, Sickle Cell Scholarship Program
American Red Cross Blood Services
Penn-Jersey Region
700 Spring Garden Street
Philadelphia, PA l9123-3594

Entries and Awards

The Selection Committee is comprised of American Red Cross board members, staff and community representatives who will determine the essay competition honoree.

The student whose essay is judged the winning entry will receive a scholarship check for $1,000. The award will be presented to the honoree at the American Red Cross Penn-Jersey Region Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 17, 2010.


Acceptance of the essay competition scholarship award constitutes permission for American Red Cross Blood Services, Penn-Jersey Region to use the recipients name, biographical information and photos for publicity purposes.